**A/N: Eric in this chapter may give you cavities, but Eric and I both believe that pregnant women should be treated with gentleness, kindness, respect, and consideration. Antidiabetic drugs are available at the door… (I’m diabetic so I can make crappy jokes like that!) Also, I’m somewhat sad-ish that no one caught my Marvel Comics egg in the last chapter. (fake pout)**
Sookie finally closed her mouth…only to have it immediately fall open again. With a cry sounding remarkably like an angry animal, she punched the sofa cushion beside her leg, then growled, her voice rising in alarm, “Another three, maybe four, months? Another three or four months? Eric? What the fuck? Another three or four months!?”
Even as he extracted the glass vials of blood from her hand and placed them safely on the coffee table, Eric was certain his face showed just as much shock and confusion as hers, and for once he didn’t bother trying to hide his expression.
What the hell? Three or four more months of this? How? Why?
He could not imagine it, but least he could finally heal those damn bruises now without worrying about the safety of the little girl growing inside his Sookie. Women, especially pregnant women should never, ever be hurt or abused in any way.
With a gentleness demanded by both her condition and the warm feelings she brought to his heart, he wrapped his arms around his distraught fairy and eased her over onto his lap. No matter how soft the furniture was, he didn’t want to risk letting her temper cause her any harm.
“Shh, shhh,” he shushed in an attempt to calm her understandably rattled nerves. With a light thump she plopped her side into his chest, and he very willingly stroked his hand up and down her back, the movements soothing and consoling.
“Three more months of this, Eric! Three more months and I already don’t even remember what my feet look like,” she wailed as tears suddenly flooded her eyes and started spilling down her cheeks.
He noticed that she chose not to add that potential fourth month, but wisely didn’t dare remind her of that possibility – the sight of her tears was more than enough to curtail the words.
“We’ll get through this, Sookie. Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out,” he said quietly yet resolutely. Somehow he managed to keep his own shock from his voice.
When Willa entered the apartment a few minutes later, Sookie’s crying had dwindled to heavy sniffles.
Immediately concerned, the brunette blurred to kneel before her friend and her Maker.
“Sookie? Sookie, what’s wrong? Did the doctor have bad news?”
“Yes,” Sookie immediately wailed. “I’m supposed to be pregnant for another three or four months and I don’t even know why!”
This time Eric was better prepared for the deluge of tears.
Eventually Eric and Willa were able to calm and reassure Sookie that yes, this was terrible news but that she would have their whole-hearted support through this horrendous travesty, but that in the end everything would be fine.
Privately Eric worried more about her emotional state. Being pregnant by that bastard was bad enough but having to endure a longer gestation for reasons that had not been explained to her beforehand? He couldn’t wait to get his hands on Steve fucking Campbell. As much as he wanted to discuss with her what his investigator had found, or rather, the lack of information found, now was not the time.
Sookie was obviously starting to wilt after the emotional overload and allowed Eric to gently lift and carry her to the bedroom she was currently using. She had always known Eric to be capable of gentleness and consideration, but his obvious care for her now during her pregnancy doubly warmed her heart.
While she was still overwhelmed by the doctor’s news, she knew freaking out about it not only wouldn’t shorten her time but might be bad for the baby, so she resolutely turned her thoughts toward Eric as he settled her on the bed.
He was an enigma, and she found that she rather enjoyed trying to figure him out. His previous cold spell toward her made better sense now – why would he have allowed himself to show kindness toward her if he’d thought she’d left him in her past or was only using him now? But once he realized that not only had she called him but that she’d stopped by too, it was as though a dam had burst.
As sweet and gentle and protective and careful as he was being toward her pregnant self…more tears rose in her eyes, but at least these were filled with gratitude and appreciation, not bitter shock.
As Eric very carefully placed Sookie on the bed, he once again thought as far back into his human days as he could. He hid a self-aimed smirk – he had never spent so much time delving into his memories as he had since meeting the woman he was now settling into the bed.
As a vampire he had been around precious few gravid women, but during his human days, breeding women were far more common.
Of the slowly increasing number of facts he could remember about them, one of the most important things was that women with child needed to be treated gently and with the greatest of respect.
The more he thought, the more he remembered, and he was glad for the information. He didn’t want to risk anything happening to his Sookie, and especially not during her pregnancy – and sure as hell not by his own hand or stupidity.
From his memories, he knew how difficult a time it was for a woman. Although most of the memories were murky, there was something about how their backs and bodies ached from the growing child, about how easy it was for them to suffer harm and, during his human days at least, how easy it was for them to die from so many mysterious things. He already knew how emotionally fragile a breeding woman could be.
Damn if he was going to add to her suffering, pain, discomfort…or even her emotional upset if he could help it.
She was his to cherish, and not only would he protect her from the world, he would protect her from himself if need be.
Once he had her settled in the bed he made to leave her to her rest, and was somewhat surprised when she stopped him.
“Where are you going,” she asked, her voice slightly muffled by the pillow.
“I was going to leave you to your rest,” he said, trying not to reveal his true desires.
The disappointment in her voice acted as both a balm and a jab to his heart.
“I can stay for a while if you like? I need to give you some blood, too, but that can wait until after you’ve had some rest.”
“You don’t mind?”
“No, Sookie, I will never mind being granted the opportunity to rest with you, and as you should know, you are always welcome to the healing power of my blood.”
After removing his shoes and shirt, he raised the covers and very carefully arranged himself along Sookie’s back, slowly and gently easing his arms around her as best he could without disturbing her comfort.
Sookie hid a smile at how long he was taking to settle in, knowing that he was being extremely mindful of her condition.
“Eric, not that I don’t appreciate it, because I really do, but why are you being so careful? I’m pregnant, not broken.”
Once situated to his satisfaction, he whispered into her hair, his hand involuntarily rubbing the lumpy curve of her abdomen as the girl child stretched within her mother’s womb, “Yes, I know you are not broken, that you are strong and healthy, but it is my mission to keep you that way. I remember little about pregnancy from my human life, but I do remember that being with child is not easy for a woman.”
He stopped and concentrated on gently massaging the site of a particularly noticeable kick before continuing.
“In my day, the safety of a pregnancy was never guaranteed. In most villages and settlements, like mine, women were treated with dignity and respect, but a woman carrying a child was always treated with even more care and consideration – much more than they seem to be today. Only the lowest of scum would punish, abuse, or disrespect a gravid woman. Even my father…” he trailed off as a new memory slowly surfaced.
He smiled. Even his father – gruff, stern, vaguely chauvinistic as was excused by the times – had treated his mother with incredible care and consideration during her sometimes-failed pregnancies. With a soft kiss to the top of Sookie’s head, he continued.
“My father was not a man who ordinarily expressed his affection much in public, but when my mother was with child, even he would coddle her. In retrospect,” he stated with a laugh, “I think he might have enjoyed the excuse to show his gentleness to her in public. He valued his image, but he loved her well.”
He grew quiet in appreciation of the newly recovered memories. They were far more precious than gold.
Finally he added, “I would do no less, and far more, for you.”
Sookie couldn’t stop yet more tears from falling and tried her hardest not to sniff.
“Sookie?” What had he said to make her cry? He needed to know so it wouldn’t happen again.
“Good tears, Eric.” She added a nose-relieving sniff and a soft giggle.
He could hear the smile in her slightly thickened voice, and was relieved. The small laugh made him smile.
“Ok.” He waited a moment. “Are you sure?”
“Yes. Can you rub a little more to the…yeah, right there. She’s really active tonight.” Sookie squirmed a bit trying to find a more comfortable position. Eric felt his body react to her movements and willed himself to ignore the ill-timed pleasure.
Three or four more months…then…
Another enthusiastic fetal movement grabbed his attention.
“My future football player,” he whispered.
“Football,” Sookie mumbled.
She had been at the verge of sleeping, and he hated that he’d spoken.
“What you call soccer,” he replied just as quietly.
“Oh, ok. Maybe. If she wants to. She can be anything she wants to be as long as it’s safe.”
“Anything. Now rest. I would like to heal you before I go into my dayrest.”
With a sleepy mumble of acknowledgment, she dozed off.
Almost as though she had been waiting to hear the telepath’s breaths slow down, Willa knocked very lightly on the closed door. Without waiting for a reply from her Maker, she whispered far too softly for Sookie to hear, “Eric? I’m going out for a while. Those vials of her blood on the table are starting to smell a little too good. So, um, bye.”
Barely a moment later, he heard the door to the apartment gently close.
With a heart bursting full of pride and love for both, nay, all three of the most precious females in his unlife, including the one not yet born, Eric slipped into downtime.
To his relief, Sookie woke up on her own, rather, Sookie’s full bladder woke her up, about half an hour before the sun would rise. His own instincts had brought him out of downtime in ancient warning of the approaching day, but he had hesitated to wake the soundly sleeping woman in his arms. Wisely, he allowed her own diminishing bladder capacity to do the dirty work for him.
Eric helped her from the bed and made sure that she was steady on her feet, once she was in the bathroom he wrote her a note for when she woke again that afternoon, then waited impatiently for her return.
He had bruises to heal and he was sorely tired of waiting to do so.
After helping a furiously blushing Sookie change into a clean sleep-shirt, and failing miserably at stopping his cock from hardening at the sight of her gloriously enlarged breasts, he gathered her into his arms, sat on the bed with his back against the headboard, and placed her sideways on his lap. He didn’t trust himself to position her in any other way.
His left arm supporting her back, he tilted her chin up, and spoke.
“Sookie, will you let me heal you?” He remembered how fucking Compton had treated her, and wanted to allow her a choice whenever possible.
With a tremulous and slightly sleepy smile, she nodded as she looked into his eyes.
To his surprise, she maintained that contact as he bit his right wrist and lowered it to her mouth. She placed her hands, so much smaller and softer than his own, on his hand and arm to hold him steady as her warm lips closed around the small wound….all while keeping her gaze focused on his.
The intimacy of the gesture, of feeling her hot tongue laving the skin around the wound, of feeling the pull of her draws…of knowing that his blood was coating her tongue, flowing into her mouth and down her throat…of knowing that his blood was inside her body, healing her, strengthening her…bonding them together ever so slightly…
There was no way she could miss the force of his pleasure as he spent himself in his pants…while holding her gaze.
As hard as he had willed the small holes in his wrist to remain open, eventually they did close, and he was sorely tempted to open them yet again, only, he dare not risk the child’s health for his personal wants. So, with a rueful sigh, he removed his wrist from her warm grasp, and refused to give in to the driving need to cover her sweetly rounded body with his own.
**A/N: Annnd…how do you think Sookie reacted? There’s no way she COULDN’T know… (I mean, really…) Next chapter? We finally get to meet Sevrin! So, what did you think about this chapter?**